Jah Jah Dub

Friday, July 29, 2005

Anyone want to go and see Blow Up projected against the Serpentine gallery?

Me neither. It's shit.

...Love without meaning, murder without guilt and the first British feature film to feature full-frontal female nudity.

That last bit - an afterthought? Or the only way to get people to watch the thing?

Please note the film is not suitable for children under 15.

Nor for anyone with discernment.

It's that time again, the time when I point up some films showing at the NFT, say that I'll be going along, invite all-comers and am roundly ignored.


Michael Powell season!

Michael Motherfucking Powell!!

I'll be going to a load of them. Definites: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp; The Red Shoes; The Tales of Hoffman. Maybes: I Know Where I'm Going; A Canterbury Tale. I'll probably drag myself along to A Matter of Life and Death - it is one of my favourite films after all. For those who haven't seen it, Black Narcissus is worth a watch: for my money it is the best film about Himalayan nuns being driven mad with sexual frustration yet directed by an Englishman.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

So there’s a new Rolling Stones album on the way.

I’ll go and see them when they tour; thankfully my affection for them doesn’t stretch to buying recent albums.

And the material from A Bigger Bang – including Neo-Con, which is reported to be an anti-Bush broadside – will no doubt help keep them awake and interested on the forthcoming tour, when they rehearse their still-thrilling collection of stadium-rockers.”

That’s “Neo-Con… reported to be an anti-Bush broadside”.

Nice to see that their ambition is intact: still trying to write a song worse than Sparks Will Fly.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

So I've moved. And everything's fine. And we don't have any furniture. And I've planted a herb garden and assembled a bird table. I am now Tom Good.

Ledbetters, as yet, still to be uncovered.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Tomorrow I'm at home, packing my things: the flight from my homeboys. I hate all that, "sorry for not posting" jazz, but so as you know - I'm busy with shit.

I'll be around, I hope not sporadically.

Terrorism: A Pain in the Arse

Green Park tube station is closed, so I go home via Victoria. I wait about ten minutes for a bus there - customary, I understand - and fuck around for a while trying to get a ticket. Boarders are allowed on the train early; I take my place near the front, the Odyssey under a folded arm. I settle down to it. I cross my legs in a vaguely effeminate way, curl my spine and bing! I'm back in Ithaca. Some chick gets on. She's rapping some shit. I rotate the chin.

"There is a bag here. On the seat. There!"

I pretend I don't understand what she's saying: course I do. She repeats: it's tiresome. Sighing I crane an irked neck and spot a knapsack nestled in the furrow of a thousand bygone buttocks. It was the time for action. An unattended bag on the tube? After today's nonsense? I did what anyone would have: I turned back to my pages, shooting surreptitious glances over the shoulder. What the hell, this is a place for sharing - I waited a couple of moments then stood and made my way down the carriage. I'd still take the bomb, but no sense in volunteering certain immolation. And there were some cats knocking around. I guess they hooked it with a broom handle and did their thing. Haven't heard anything else about it.

Must we deal with these bag-spotting do-gooders? I'll take my chances; avoid a scene.

So I'm watching this earlier and I'm thinking, "if you don't like Victoria Wood you're either sexist, ageist, body fascist or you loathe 'ordinary people'." She's great; and comedy is the poorer for her absence from our screens.

The programme was weak, like - they could have just looped that bit from the final reel of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me where Fat Bastard says, "I eat because I'm unhappy and I'm unhappy because I eat."

Nevertheless, she's excellent; and she reaffirmed my conviction that Lancashire is the best of all English counties.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Put this in a comment below but thought I'd post it here:

Email from me to Dad, talking about Google Earth

It’s really impressive. You can tilt the map and drag it around.

Also, there’s seems to be some more stuff going on in the London Underground… News sites down… Don’t know what’s going on yet, but I’m fine.


Email from Dad to me

I can get the BBC news - see article below: But more important, Australia are 169 for 6.


"Incidents" on the tube again.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Have you ever had one of these? I'm supping on the orange and raspberry one right... now. It's pretty good. They're at an introductory price at the moment, a still startling £1.something. It's like smoothies - pretty tasty, but if I'm going to pay three pounds for more than a mouthful I expect the crop to have been fermented.

I’ve caught this a few times recently. Man, it’s poor. It looked promising: a panel debates received wisdoms and tries to overturn them. But it’s dire, just another addition to Radio 4’s smug, pissweak comedy output. Each topic generally has at least one interesting alternative take - one which they all miss every time, preferring to stick with a counter-observation as tired as the original statement. The hope for a cheap laugh and an empty round of applause always prevails.

Start the Week was good though. Jonathan Miller. Excellent.

So I’ve been thinking this for a while... Personality tests. They’re all like, “I don’t like being alone. Strongly Agree; Agree; Indifferent; etc” There may be better ways. The following were made up by me tonight; after each, my answer: I suspect they tell a story. They’re reflexive, of course – many depend on how you think you could fit in to a given situation. Still, that can be useful too. Why not answer them? Just for s's and g's, like.

Enough preamble:

1) If you could be the best there has ever been at a sport, which would that sport be?

2) If you could be the best ever at a position in cricket, which would it be?

Bowler – leg spin.

3) If you were in a Lancaster bomber, which position would you choose?

Tail Gunner.

4) Which discipline of Athletics would you like to master like no other?
100m. Or Pole Vault. (Freud Alert! My Dad was Dorset Pole Vault record holder in his youth.)

5) You’re in the world’s best ever band. Who are you?

The front man. Naturally.

6) Would you be Ricky Gervais or Stephen Merchant?

Ricky Gervais.

7) If you could be the best at a branch of Twentieth Century artistic achievement, which field are you working in?
Writing. I’d be James Joyce (say).

8) Would you rather be Bill Murray or Woody Allen?
Bill Murray.

9) Which hero of the Iliad would you be?

10) At which football position would you be the world’s best?
Central Midfield.

11) Who are you in the A-Team?
Face Man.

12) Which branch of the armed services would you survive in?
The SBS.

13)Which alcoholic drink are you?


14) Are you Aubrey or Maturin?

15) If you could be anyone in “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” who would you be?
I’d like to be Ryan Stiles, fear I may be Colin Mocherie.

16) Member of Star Trek?

Spock. I loved Spock. However, as I get older I think that “Bones” might win the day.

17) Member of Beyond the Fringe?
Jonathan Miller.

18) Great Ape?

19) Oasis song?
Round Are Way.

20) Rodent?
Guinea Pig.

Results: If you answer like me, you are ace. If not, you have work to do.

The A-Team's on in the background.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I know I said I was going to leave politics alone, but I can't; not quite. Blair's speech on Saturday seems to have been scandalously underreported. Read it here. And read this too.

And you might want to sign this.

Things I’d rather talk about than this:

Monkey Harris
Zoot Suits


Monday, July 18, 2005

VinnieK’s latest posts have got me thinking. I’ve turned into a tedious armchair pundit. There’s nothing worse than taking blogs seriously. I used to do posts like this and this. Now I drone on about the moral state of the Left. How could I have fallen so low? But admitting that I have a problem is a big step; I'll take this one day at a time.

My political opinions will be saved for conversation. Talking, it’s the new thing.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Having an off the meter day around the pool - Aerobie and that. Photos will, no doubt, follow...


Thursday, July 14, 2005

I knew it! I knew it was too good to be true!

The plot dissolves into a ropey soap about true love, and the weak box-office ending takes the sting out of the tale.

Those characters had so much potential. Why do they always have to learn?

So I'm thinking of testing out this Aerobie at the weekend in some green space or other. Anyone up for it? If it makes you feel more comfortable you could always do it in a spirit of ironic detachment.

It was cold.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

No one's around.


Nothing to do but sit here wearing a Guinness hat at a rakish angle.

Thinking about getting in the paddling pool again.

What's with the weather? The humidity, the haze-refracted light; it's like Puerto Ayacucho here.

So the doorbell goes at six o’clock yesterday morning. I was knocking about, just out of the shower, hair wet and eyes bleary. You think it must be important at that time; which Jehovah’s Witness is going to hitch a lift on the back of a milkfloat? So I answer it. It’s a young woman, looking a bit embarrassed. She hits me with the apologies straight away: I’m so sorry to bother you at this time... I saw your light was on... Oh, how can I put this? She lives down the road, apparently; she’s been at the hospital all night long with her son; he’s in the house now, shivering or something; her electricity meter needs a card; hers has run out; she’s no way of getting any money until later that day; would I help her out; it’s seven pounds.

What can you do? Once she’s started talking there was obviously only one outcome. I shuffle within an embarrassed dressing gown, go upstairs, rummage around and pony up the dough. She drops the friendliness and mutters something about coming round later with the money.

“Of course you will.”

Her story could be true, I guess – how much is a vial of crack? – but you can lead an elephant through the holes in it. Frankly, I was impressed enough with the door-to-door panhandling at dawn. Fair play to her. Deserves reward.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Might buy myself a birthday present. Thinking about this.

The rumours are true: the Earth has revolved around the sun twenty seven times since the day I was born. As is customary, the event has been marked by well-wishers. So far my haul includes an Aerobie Sprint, a copy of D.A.R.Y.L. and a bird table. Pretty good, I’m sure you’ll agree.

As for that vexing mid/late-twenties question, I prefer an east-south-east configuration. I’m late-mid-twenties. Or early-late-twenties. The choice is yours.

Aaronovitch on point again today.

Next post won't be about Iraq or terrorism. Probably.

How do those calling for a withdrawal of the "occupying" troops respond to this?

I'm ventriloquizing, so forgive me if I'm unfair. The arguments, as I see them, would boil down to:

1) "Hoshyar Zebari is a Western puppet."

The Galloway response. The Iraqi government is made up of quislings - collaborators with the occupying forces. The "insurgents", the mosque-bombers and the head-choppers, are the true representatives of the Iraqi people; it is their needs which must be addressed.


2) "Well, that's very sad but it's the Iraqis' problem".

Two philosophies behind this one -

(i) I care more about the terrorist threat. I'd love to help, but any risk to British life is a risk I'm not prepared to accept. I'm sorry.


(ii) Iraqis are somehow different. They can solve their own problems. We, the West, do not have the right to interfere in those problems.

Mirage or Taboo, which one are you?

Phew! It's alright: they have an absolute moron onboard too today. Things are as as they were.

"Indeed it was that war [the first war with Iraq] and the accompanying UN sanctions, plus the stationing of US troops in Saudi Arabia, that ushered in our age of global terror with the attempt to blow up the World Trade Centre in 1993."

Think about that... Yep...

"While repeatedly reporting comments asserting the other side's inhumanity in recent days, western TV networks have not even hinted at the images they possess of more recent of crimes against humanity committed in Falluja, Najaf, Qaim, the mountain villages of Afghanistan, Jenin. Yes, the terrorists are barbaric - but who is more so?"

The Western media sure hate running pictures that might put their armed forces in a bad light. And Jenin... remind me again, is that in Iraq or Afghanistan?

You know how it goes. No information in the article will surprise you: that a someone is being paid to write it might.

Oh, and there's also some Mombiot in there today if you fancy it.

I don't know what the Guardian were thinking letting this article through.

I accept that when some people see Blair in such settings they see a war criminal or a congenital liar. But those who respond that way should accept that many more people around the planet see someone else: the leading and most articulate statesman in the developed world.


Monday, July 11, 2005

So I get home from work today and there's a massive paddling pool in the garden.

I wander inside and this picture is gracing the computer desktop.

And this film is on the hard drive. You may know him as "Party Sarge", you may know him as "Andilicious". I know him as the A-Hole.

My residence is now, apparently, Animal House.

What's the deal with goths? Really, I'd like to know; I don't get it.

Went to an open day at Kensal Green cemetery yesterday - the place was listlessly flouncing with them. I can understand the teenagers, I guess: no one understands me; I'm deep and mysterious, other; I'm highly conscious of my looks; I'll strike some Romantic poses. But what's with the older fellas? Is it just a cynical attempt to score with young chicks? I mean, if so, fair enough. Any other explanation doesn't bear thinking about.

You know, I think I'm about done on terrorists for now; but before I forget, this article is worth reading.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Are more flags flying today?

I can’t really imagine raising one myself, but I wouldn’t sneer at anyone who did. It’s not jingoistic - it is saying: this is who we are, we are proud of who we are, and we are together. I don’t think that anyone should have a problem with that. Think of it as a symbol of an open society if, like me, you’re not too keen on that whole “nationhood” thing.

Americans are comfortable with them. In fact, they are comfortable with ours. I wouldn’t be surprised if today there are more Union flags up in the USA than in Britain. Some (SWP, Ali, the usual) might see it as Uncle Sam patting his poodle. But I like it. I’m touched.

Tariq Ali:

"Most Londoners (as the rest of the country) were opposed to the Iraq war. Tragically, they have suffered the blow and paid the price for the re-election of Blair and a continuation of the war.


The real solution lies in immediately ending the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine."

Amir Taheri:

"But sorry, old chaps, you are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or round-table discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you."

So this is the end of a long day.

Maybe it’ll feel scarier tomorrow. Should I be more affected than I am? What is it now, 35 people dead? Out of the millions travelling on the tube it’s not very much. Out of the people travelling on that train at that time, it’s enormous.

This is horrific, make no mistake. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people’s lives have changed. Their child or husband or sister is maimed, injured, dead. That happens all the time, of course, but it was in a batch today. And it didn’t need to happen.

It’s tempting to blame Britain and America for this. If only we hadn’t (whatever) then this force of nature would not have been released. This denies the agency of the terrorists. Their choice to murder was not determined by our government’s actions. They had as much free will as anyone else; and they must be condemned. This has nothing to do with the Iraq war, or Afghanistan. The “reason” for the massacre of dancing Australian backpackers in Bali: that their country had colluded in the liberation of East Timor. They had protected the people who had, per capita, suffered the worst genocidal campaign in history. Australia had thus provoked this slaughter. You hand over foreign policy to jihadists; or you do what you think is right.

Why must Islamic terrorists be the only party given the benefit of the doubt of the just reaction? Surely the invasion of Afghanistan must be understood in the context of the attack on the World Trade Centre? And that must be understood in the context of US foreign policy. And that must be understood in the context of the Cold War. And that must be understood in the context of Lenin’s mother. And her mother. And so on. It’s never ending.

Either everything just is, and London deaths by terrorism are worth no more than “insurgent” deaths in Iraq (but of course, no less), or there is a moral difference. And if you must, if you really must, my ideas of universal human rights, indeed of rights and wrongs, are culturally created. Fine. But they’re worth the same as those of any Islamist nihilist. At least give me that.

But here we are. It could have been worse. I can’t have been the only person who thought that this was inevitable – two years ago, when I worked in the City I would breathe a relieved sigh whenever I left Bank tube station – but was relieved that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. What can we do?

Same as we ever did.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

It probably goes without saying, but I thought I'd say it anyway. From the as yet unsubstantiated claiming of responsibility by the Organization of al Qaeda't al-Jihad in Europe:

And this is Britain now burning from fear and panic from the north to the south, from the east to the west.

Just so you know, that's not happening. At all. I just popped out to get some Haribo Sour Mix.

Here's Tim Worstall:

Many years ago I was working in The City and there were two events that made travel into work almost impossible.

The first was a series of storms that brought down power lines, blocked train routes and so on. Not surprisingly, the place was empty the next day. Why bother to struggle through?

The other event was an IRA bomb which caused massive damage and loss of life. Trains were disrupted, travel to work the next day was horribly difficult and yet there were more people at work than on a normal day. There was no co-ordination to this, no instructions went out, but it appeared that people were crawling off their sick beds in order to be there at work the next day, thrusting their mewling and pewling infants into the arms of anyone at all so that they could be there.

Yes, we’ll take an excuse for a day off, throw a sickie. But you threaten us, try to kill us? Kill and injure some of us?

Fuck you, sunshine.

We’ll not be having that.

Ken Livingstone was good too:

"This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful; it is not aimed at presidents or prime ministers; it was aimed at ordinary working class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christians, Hindu and Jew, young and old, indiscriminate attempt at slaughter irrespective of any considerations, of age, of class, of religion, whatever, that isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it's just indiscriminate attempt at mass murder, and we know what the objective is, they seek to divide London. They seek to turn Londoners against each other and Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack... I wish to speak through you directly, to those who came to London to claim lives, nothing you do, how many of us you kill will stop that flight to our cities where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another, whatever you do, how many you kill, you will fail."

Although it begs the question, "would a terrorist attack on the mighty have been acceptable?"


"We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings."

George demonstrating the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

Or if you prefer: apologist.


Words can barely express my disgust at this.

"The British government cannot avoid its responsibility for these terrible attacks, which are a consequence of its support for war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The best way to ensure that there are no more such terrible attacks is for British troops to be withdrawn from there immediately."

Via Norm.

Just thought I should say - you know this isn't Blair's fault for taking Britain into war in Iraq, right? Responsibility lies with those who planted the bombs. When do you think there'll be the first accusatory article? I think the Guardian tomorrow - Monbiot or Jonathan Steele. First, condemnation and sympathy. Then, "But..."

Hello there. I haven't been blown up, just in case you were wondering.

Have to go to work in forty five minutes though. That's going to be a fun journey.

UPDATE: Fuck that. I'm staying here. No tubes, no buses... not relishing giving the train a whirl.

I've got the TV on in the background - mobile phone network down; land line network pretty jammed. Don't worry, people.

Latest: 2 dead, at least 90 injured.

I think we can rule out "power surges".

Update 2: Explosion on... some other road.

"Arab sources" who monitor al-Qaida think that it's almost certainly their doing.

Update 3: I can hear a lot of sirens here in Zone 3.

Update 4: Anyone else based in London fancy leaving an "I'm alright, by the way" comment?

Update 5: Tony's coming back to London today to see what's going on. He'll return later. His voice was cracking. He pointed the finger at "those that would try and destroy our way of life and impose extremism on the world." Can you guess who it is yet?


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

It has become customary, when ten-pin bowling, to mark strikes and spares with footballers’ goal celebrations.

I slid on my knees. But the knees of my jeans had long passed on.

I paid for my swagger in skin.

Ha! Britain's popularity in France must be going through the roof.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Good article here about foreign intervention in Iraq imposing an alien way of life.

Arkan Salim, 56, who left with his wife and four children, said: "We thought they were patriotic. Now we discovered that they are sick and crazy.

"They interfered in everything, even how we raise our children. They turned the city into hell, and we cannot live in it anymore."

Watch your back, Berlusconi, Chirac is right behind you in the Jah Jah Dub Favourite European Leader Stakes.

You saw this, right?


There's no need to mention that its lack of an agricultural revolution has meant that France is still essentially a foraging society; and it's probably best not to laugh at France's hilarious parochialism or wonder how far ahead are the cuisines of Germany and Russia.

Just enjoy it. Relish the man while you still can.


Monday, July 04, 2005

So did you see Escape to the Legion?

Best. Programme. Ever.

Don't think you're going to get anything from me today. Why not read Scott Burgess instead?


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